The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: orgs/canadian/nizkor-project/press/jpost-internet.19970504



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     Thursday, May 8, 1997   1 Iyyar 5757   ISRAEL TIME: [INLINE]
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   Columns
   
SURFING THE NET: How to answer Holocaust deniers

    By JEFF ABRAMOWITZ
    
   
   
   (May 4) It's a curious fact that attempts at censoring the Internet
   focus mainly on keeping the sex sites away from the curious eyes of
   the young.
   
    [IMAGE] Obviously, those who would guard our morals haven't yet
   realized that forbidding anyone under 18 to enter a site is the
   easiest way of making sure they do. I would feel a lot better if the
   moral majority stopped getting all het up about sex and started doing
   something about the hate sites.
   
   I've been thinking a lot about these sites this past week, because
   this week's column deals largely with Holocaust sites. The Internet is
   a perfect vehicle for neo-Nazis and Holocaust-deniers. Here you have a
   great mass medium, and it's uncontrolled. Anyone with a modicum of
   intelligence and enough resources can use it. Forget intelligence - at
   least in the case of neo-Nazis and Holocaust-deniers. Attempts to stop
   them invariably make headlines, and accusations of freedom of speech
   are bandied about. This, of course, is just the publicity these creeps
   want.
   
   On the other hand, do we really want to let these people use the Web
   freely?
   
   It boils down to the question of whether freedom of speech is
   divisible or not. Despite fears that the Internet is being hijacked by
   Holocaust-deniers and hate merchants, the situation is not as black as
   some would have it. There are plenty of "authentic" Holocaust sites on
   the net; it's just that they don't get the publicity the hatemongers
   receive. But those who know where to go and what to look for can find
   enough ways to commemorate Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance
   Day via the Internet.
   
   THE NIZKOR Project (http://www1.us.nizkor.org/index.html) is one of
   the best educational tools I found. This is not a collection of Web
   pages, but a "collage of projects focused on the Holocaust and its
   denial." It includes FAQs (frequently asked questions); a link to the
   Holocaust Web Project, which offers, so say the site's authors, "the
   largest on-line collection of information on the Holocaust, and its
   denial, on the Internet"; and a features section, which includes the
   66 questions and answers, aimed at rebuffing Holocaust-deniers.
   
   Another site attempting to provide tools for rebutting the deniers is
   Virtual Jerusalem. Located at
   (http://www.virtual.co.il/education/education/holocaust/quote/index.h
   tm), this is a collection of documents and speeches which is cursory
   at best. While there are some documents I did not see elsewhere (which
   in itself means nothing - I didn't search all the Holocaust sites), I
   couldn't help feeling that if the authors of Virtual Jerusalem are
   serious about this site, they have to do a lot more work.
   
   The same is true about Virtual's page of links to Holocaust sites
   (http://www.virtual.co.il/education/education/holocaust/). In fact, I
   mention this page only because of one or two links that I didn't find
   elsewhere. And on the subject of Virtual Jerusalem, I found their page
   providing information on Holocaust Remembrance Day
   (http://www.virtual.co.il/city_services/holidays/yomshoa/ brief to
   the point of seeming almost an afterthought. You'd think a leading
   Israel Internet domain would, and could, do better, especially on this
   subject.
   
   A FAR better list of Holocaust links can be found at Nizkor's "Other
   Sites: Holocaust Information Page"
   (http://www1.us.nizkor.org/other-sites). Here you have links to Anne
   Frank, commercial Holocaust educational resources, institutions and
   organizations, and private Holocaust educational resources. The list
   is not exhaustive, but it is thorough and offers a brief synopsis of
   what each link contains. The institutions and organizations section
   includes links to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
   (disappointing; instead of trumpeting its existence, the museum site
   should concentrate on the reasons it was set up), the Simon Wiesenthal
   Center and Yad Vashem.
   
   The address of Yad Vashem, by the way, is
   (http://www.yad-vashem.org.il).
   
   Of the "private" Holocaust pages listed by Nizkor, the best, or pretty
   close, is David Dickerson's Holocaust Page
   (http://www.igc.org/ddickerson/holocaust.html), which is extremely
   thorough and very well organized. Dickerson has done an outstanding
   job. His site is arranged in categories, such as organizations,
   educational projects and tools, survivors and rescuers, and even has a
   list of conferences. It also includes information on the Third Reich,
   a subject essential for understanding the Holocaust and one which most
   Holocaust sites seem to ignore, or at best gloss over.
   
   Another "private" page worth mentioning is the Holocaust Primer, set
   up by Alexander Kimel (http://haven.ios.com/~kimel19/index.html).
   Kimel, a Holocaust survivor, has put together a collection that serves
   as a very good introduction to this most complex of topics, and
   includes some stories from survivors which make for harrowing reading.
   
   
   The Cybrary of the Holocaust (http://www.remember.org/) is a very
   well-designed site with a lot of good links. The main problem I
   encountered was deciding what to look at first. It is divided into six
   main sections, and is worth visiting.
   
   There are, of course, other sites dealing with the Holocaust, but the
   ones listed above are those that, for one reason or another, stand out
   and are worthy of mention.
   
   IN FACT, there are a great many other sites dealing with the
   Holocaust. Infoseek, for example, came up with more than 23,000
   entries when I used it as part of the research for this column. Even
   taking into account the fact that some of those 23,000 deal with other
   Holocausts, and some, too, refer to Holocaust-denial sites, you're
   still going to be left with an awful lot of sites to look at.
   
   What is needed is a search facility that will not only find the sites
   you're looking for, but will screen out the sites that are irrelevant.
   Unfortunately, and despite my first impressions, the search facility
   known as "Ask Jeeves" is not the answer.
   
   Ask Jeeves (http://www.askjeeves.com/) is named after the butler in
   the Jeeves and Wooster stories, and, like a perfect butler, is
   supposed to bring you exactly what you ask for.
   
   In which case all I can say is that I don't know what the help is
   coming to. Maybe I'm being unfair. Ask Jeeves isn't a conventional
   search facility, and the idea behind it is good. The way it works is
   that you ask it a "question" and instead of Jeeves coming back with a
   list of sites, it will take you right to the site. This, say the
   people who program Jeeves, "eliminates the search through countless
   sites which don't help you at all."
   
   That's true, up to a point. But of the many times I experimented with
   Jeeves, only once was I taken right to where Jeeves thought I wanted
   to go. The other times - and there were enough to make it the rule,
   and not the exception - Jeeves came back with a list of questions
   dealing with my query. I suppose you could say these questions were
   ways of refining my search. So, on the one hand, Jeeves takes
   searching the net a step further, by eliminating the prospect of
   having to look at more than 23,000 sites to get what you want. That's
   the good bit. The not-so-good bit is that there is no way of judging
   how meticulous it is. But give it a try anyway and see what you think.
   
   
   THE FRIEND who told me mournfully, a few days after his wedding: "You
   know those mother-in-law jokes? Well, they're all true," should look
   up the anagram for mother-in-law in the anagram hall of fame, part of
   the Internet Anagram Server (or, as it calls itself, I, Rearrangement
   Servant), at (http://www.wordsmith.org/anagram/index.html).
   
   The server (like most who play with anagrams, it can't resist showing
   off), is ... well, I'm not sure what its purpose is, beyond coming up
   with anagrams. Simply write the word in the space provided, click the
   icon and see what comes up. What does come up is sometimes funny,
   sometimes clever and often both.
   
   For example, the anagram for "dormitory," as anybody who's ever had to
   clean one can tell you, is "dirty room." "Funeral" comes out as "real
   fun," while "Salman Rushdie" (he's still alive, apparently) is
   anagrammed as "Read, Shun Islam."
   
   Most names can, in fact, be changed to something else with the anagram
   server. Considering what else I've been called in my time, "A Fab Jew
   from Zit" is pretty complimentary.
   
   Whether or not anagrams never lie, as the site claims, is something
   that depends on your point of view. I don't think too many people will
   say the anagram of "Ronald Reagan" - "A darn long era" - is
   inaccurate, but one of the anagrams for "William Clinton" ought to get
   his supporters thinking. It is: " I'm it, an ill clown."
   
   Send comments, queries and ideas for reviews to jabramo@ibm.net
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